High End highlights: some hot happenings to check out at the Munich Show this weekend

It’s that time of year again folks… when hi-fi’s greatest hitters from around the globe flock to the world’s largest audio exhibition. Yes music lovers, High End Munich 2018 is almost upon us. So, just before I get packing, here are some of the highlights I’ll be heading for.

Hall 1 / D01: Tape nirvana – and several world firsts!
Metaxas GQT open reel tape recorder – front view

No doubt a key highlight of the show from Metaxas & Sins… expect to be blown away both sonically and visually by the stunning new GQT Georges Quellet Tribute portable open reel tape recorder. It’s one of only two brand new tape recorders currently in production worldwide (the other being the Ballfinger M-063, which will also be on display alongside tape manufacturers Recording The Masters in Hall 3 / J11). And if that’s not excitement enough, Metaxas is also promising to wow us with the new ‘Phonographic Perambulator & Combobulator’ (that’s a turntable and tonearm to you and me, folks) and equally brand new Diva loudspeakers. Not to be missed!

(And if you’re after some tapes to test drive the GQT with – scroll down for more tape nirvana…)

Atrium 4.1 / F126, 127 & 128: If it’s high fidelity amplification you want…

German distributor High Fidelity Studio will be showcasing its wares in three adjacent rooms, including some hot-off-the-press you-saw-it-here-first treats.

Aesthetix Mimas

Californian creator of superb high-end amplifiers Aesthetix will show the final production version its first ever integrated amp, the new Mimas. It’s a hybrid design that features an optional plug-in phonostage and DAC. I’m also hoping that we’ll see the new Metis ultra-high end linestage in operation.

For the more budget-conscious yet still desirous of excellent sound, British brand Exposure is a top choice and boy, do they have some treats to unveil for 2018. First off, the latest product to be added to the award-winning compact XM series, the XM CD player. Next, a new Exposure flagship: the two-box VXN phonostage / analogue to digital converter. And if that’s not enough, how about a whole new range… expect a sneak preview of the fantastic new 5010 series of amps.

DS Audio ST-50

And what better to put these top amps through their paces than DS Audio’s stunningly revealing optical cartridges? Discover the brand new DS W2 cartridge and the new, innovative ST-50 stylus cleaner.

Hall 2 / E04 & F07: Happy 40th birthday Clearaudio
Clearaudio Statement v2 turntable self-levelling pendulum detail

Clearaudio is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, so the company and its superb range of analogue desirables will be at High End 2018 in force. Trust me, the Clearaudio display will be an absolute must-see.

Hall 03 / K01: Where accessories become essentials
Furutech NCF Booster – extended

Japanese cable, accessories and portable hi-fi experts Furutech and ADL will be showing an impressive selection of new accessories and system fine-tuning devices, once again proving that a little attention to detail can go a long way in terms of boosting your system’s performance. Take for example the new NCF Booster and even newer (yet to be officially launched) NCF Booster Signal. These fascinating devices take the notion of cable elevation to another level (pun fully intended) using proprietary NCF technology to reduce static and mechanical vibration.

Hall 3 / N11: New flagship amplifiers from Audio Analogue

Italian brand Audio Analogue will be on the AF Group SRL stand with some exciting news for 2018: two brand new ‘Anniversary’ line products at the very top end of their range: the Bellini preamp and Donizetti power amp. And then there’s the Pegaso, an exceedingly cute new valve integrated amplifier, plus a new Zero reference line of cables from sister company AirTech.

Atrium 4.2 / F125: Computer Audio Design (CAD) breaks yet more ground
CAD GC1 Ground Control

Innovative British brand CAD will once again be exhibiting alongside Beonike’s exquisite little loudspeakers. New from CAD this year: the ground-breaking, noise-taming Ground Controls have been further enhanced by an intelligently upgraded Ground Control cable. Hear these renowned innovations perform even better than before. And for the first time in Munich, come and hear the new CAD USB cable II.

Atrium 4.2 / E227: A new Raidho high
Raidho TD-4.8

Don’t miss sister brands Raidho and Scansonic and especially don’t miss Raidho’s new, very high-end flagship, using new Raidho-developed technology (always a cause for some excitement, innovators that they are). It’s enormous (so big I could only fit a thumbnail-sized picture here!), it’s enormously impressive and it’s the new TD 4.8.

There’s more…

Dutch cable and phono cartridge expert van den Hul will be in Atrium 4.2 / F207. For 2018 the company has a fresh brand identity, a new website and new brochures. But what goodies will Mr A.J. van den Hul himself bring to this year’s Munich Show? Come and find out…

Kronos/Van den Hul combo

The phenomenal Kronos turntable is always popular at Munich and this year it can be seen and heard in several rooms in Atrium 4: E115 (Kronos /Goebel), F116 (Magico), F130 (Nagra) and E214 (Absolare).

Minnesota-based kings of the planar magnetic flat-panel loudspeaker Magnepan (aka ‘Maggies’) will be on show on the Taurus High End GmbH stand, Hall 3 / J05.

And finally… (remember I promised you more tape nirvana?)

With more than 65 tapes in its ever-expanding catalogue, a visit to Horch House (which is in the process of renaming itself ‘Entertape’) seems almost mandatory: get thee to stand F04, in Hall 2

Eduard Kunz – Sonatas – Open Reel Records

Open Reel Records’ tapes may well be packaged beautifully (at the risk of stereotyping, it must be that Italian sense of style), but it’s the quality on the inside that really counts. A truly exquisite collection of recordings, some made in-house by artistic director Marco Taio (virtuoso musician, recording engineer and all-round renaissance man), and some selected vintage recordings to which Taio has secured the rights. The catalogue is small but perfectly formed. Discover Open Reel Records on Recording the Masters’ stand in Hall 3 / J11.

I’ve heard good things about Giulio Cesare Ricci’s recordings for his label Fonè, and have one of his tapes on order (Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade) so I’m looking forward to meeting the man himself on the Da Capo stand in Hall 4 / T12 & U09, where Fonè tapes and vinyl records will be on sale. Guilio will also be giving talks and demos at 2pm and 5pm on Friday and Saturday in the MBL room (Atrium 4.1 / E102).

STS Analog / Digital will be there too, with their ever-expanding catalogue of reel to reel tapes in Hall 3 / J16.

And Lyn Stanley will be in the EAR Yoshino room (Atrium 4 / E225) on Friday and Saturday at 11.30am and 5.15pm doing talks / demos of her latest reel to reel / one step vinyl release, Moonlight Sessions volume 2. She’ll also be on the Playback Designs stand (Hall 3 / J10) at 2pm and 4pm doing the same but in digital. On Sunday she’ll be in the EAR room at 11.30am and Playback Designs at 2pm.

And no visit to Munich would be complete without visiting Room F129 on Atrium 4.1 to hear whatever stunning vintage cinema speaker system Silbatone have brought to this year’s event.

Right, time to get packing. Have a great show folks!